NBA Finals

1. Houston Rockets vs. 3. Philadelphia 76ers

Boiling a playoff series down to a single stat is reductive.

Let’s do it anyway.

During the second half of the season, when they no longer faced a murderers’ row, the 76ers emerged as one of the league’s best defensive teams. No squad was better at depressing its foes’ shooting percentages, and Philly also forces a fair number of turnovers while cleaning the glass to avoid allowing too many second-chance opportunities. cheap custom nfl jerseys

But the Sixers do have a major weakness that plays right into Houston’s hands:nfl custom jerseys cheapĀ  fouls. 710325ebebaca22e8429447d188f26bc_crop_exact

Only the Memphis Grizzlies (0.333) allow more free throws per field-goal attempt than Philadelphia (0.293), which spells trouble against a team that makes a living at the charity stripe. Led by Harden’s endless parade, the Rockets rank third leaguewide in the offensive version of the same statistic. And they’re going to exploit that advantage, which could only be magnified if Philly’s youngsters get slightly shaken by playing on the Finals stage.cheap customized nfl jerseys

Even if they don’t, that’s bad news for a foul-prone centerpiece such as nike nfl jerseys cheap Joel Embiid. Despite improving substantially upon his rookie efforts, the big man is still averaging 3.9 whistles per 36 minutes.

We’re projecting this as the first opportunity for Simmons and Embiid to hold up the Larry O’Brien Trophy, but it won’t be their last. And when they inevitably return to this final battle for the NBA’s ultimate reward, they’ll get to grow from this initial experience.

But they aren’t there quite yet.

Even during a season in which the Eastern Conference features the better-than-ever nfl jerseys cheap nike Raptors and the James-led Cavaliers, it remains the weaker half of the league. The Rockets, on the other hand, are the toast of the Association.
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They’ll prove it when Harden and Paul finally get those pesky playoff monkeys off their backs.